With his mom on her deathbed, Oliver revisits childhood for one last time...
| The house still smelled of sickness. Oliver had spent hours cleaning it out, and Mom remained a permanent mark on walls, in floorboards, and even the air. Just as in life, no other blood relative would return, so he did the best that he could alone. A twelve-foot dumpster required for all the archaic furniture reduced to kindling. Closets of old clothes, that basement full of his old man already gone thirty-plus years, as well as an attic with too many memories of himself she had horded away much longer.
By precedence, Oliver intentionally left a few things behind. Like the dining room mirror covering an entire wall, way too big for one man to carry. In combination with a makeshift toolbox full of nuts, bolts, and screws his dad built directly into cellar fortifications. Then, one box made of cardboard he just could not bring himself to remove from attic floor. Several nights lain sleepless in his motel room, not only waiting for, The Call from a community hospital, but to decide whether he should save it's contents or simply discard them.
On that very morning, when Oliver rolled over to silence what he thought smartphone's recurrent alarm, and told his mother died comfortably in her drug-induced coma. No tears or dramatics, but return in calm to parental domain with the intention of decisively facing those first eighteen years before college. Of course, headed towards the most accessible source, wryly boxed and then bound in plasticized pages for protection against time, the elements, maybe even whomever bore scars only visible in family photographs.
Somewhat shocked to see snapshots of the boy currently fully grown. That handsome man who died when he was so young, odd to still call him Father. Yet, right there as groomsman in a wedding picture. Mom, formerly enchanting as she donned one other shade sepia did not appear to drown out over a whole generation. Their miracle, change-of-life child who came into the world in full Technicolor despite what opaqueness his childhood instilled.
Stages of development, which would be a curse Oliver might pass on as it was, without sharing the proof-positive moments. His smartphone all atwitter just as he put one last match to what had been placed in a pristine fireplace.
"Oliver, we just got word," The man he could legally call his husband in neighboring state of New Jersey, stuttered out with glee. "There's finally a baby they think we can adopt!"
Grateful tears unable to extinguish the ensuing blaze, he managed to reply, "Oh, my God, how great! Well, we're all finished here, anyway. I'm on my way home."